CHENNAI : GoMechanic’s tale begins in 2016, when the co-founders, Kushal Karwa and Amit Bhasin, shifted to Gurugram for work. The IIM-A graduates were forced to shell out `15,000 to 20,ooo every time they had to service their second-hand, a Aveo-UVA and Santro. Along with Rishabh Karwa and Nitin Rana, they decided to offer a solution for others facing the same problem.
“While non-standardised price points, haphazard fee structures billed by local mechanics and extremely expensive authorised car centres were the biggest pain points in servicing industry, it was a potential market that lacked standardisation and a perfect service model,” says Kushal. Due to their backgrounds in consulting, with Kushal having consulted multiple auto-clients in the past, they could apprehend the market size to be over $10 billion and thus, a potential business opportunity that they tapped into.
Built on a fully automated AI & ML tech-enabled eco-system, their service offering includes identifying the underlying repair issue along with an estimated cost outline to the customer on making an entry. Amit says, “We are the only player to offer repair services at prices 40 per cent cheaper compared to the general garages to customers.”
Their advanced tech-enabled eco-system in workshops has led to some of the biggest positive changes in the auto industry — internally training the otherwise low skilled blue-collar workers, defining the necessary maximum retail price (MRP) in car repair and services, and ushering transparency of genuine spare parts and making them readily available.
“We observed that when it comes to servicing vehicles, Indian customers are always caught between highly expensive authorized centres and affordable, yet unreliable local auto repair workshops where the genuineness of spare parts is a serious concern — a challenge that we also faced when we got our vehicles. There was no single player who actually could chalk out a model that would live up to this customer requirement,” says Kushal.
Initially, the co-founders opened their workshops to understand the business hands-on. With an investment of `15 lakh, they serviced and washed more than 300 B2B (mostly Uber) cars on their own, hiring local mechanics and sourcing spare auto parts to use. Later, they realised that they can own the experience end to end with a full-stack model. They decided for a Franchise Owned Company Operated (FOCO) operation model, where they on-boarded workshops, deployed technology, planted customer representatives and supplied manufacturer recommended spare parts directly procured from OEMs in bulk.
GoMechanic was initially started with a capital of $250,000 (`1.78 crore) from Dhianu Das in 2016. `7 crore was raised in seed funding from Orios Venture Partners and Snapdeal founders, Kunal Bahl and Rohil Bansal, in 2017. The start-up raised `35 crore ($4.9 million) in a Series A round led by Sequoia Capital and Orios Venture Partners in 2019.
Having built more than 150 technology-enabled multi-brand network of car service centres and workshops across key locations like Delhi-NCR, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Pune and Bengaluru, by far the largest in the country in three years, the business shows an immense potential to scale.“With a recently inked service partnership with AI-enabled electric motorcycle maker, Revolt Motors, GoMechanic plans to make major infrastructure renovations at its workshops to accommodate dedicated EV servicing bays,” adds Amit.
In a nutshell
nGoMechanic was founded in 2016
nIt has serviced more than two million vehicles in three years
nThe founders opened workshops with their own capital of `15 lakh to understand the business
n It functions in key-locations like Delhi-NCR, Hyderabad and Bengaluru
n GoMechanic raised $250,000 initially and later `35 crore this year in a Series A round